Mike Trout Returns for Rubber Game in Houston

By Jose Serrano

Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Garrett Richards made history Tuesday night. The 26-year-old righty became Major League Baseball’s 71st player- and first Angels in over forty years- to strike out the side with nine pitches. More importantly, the 4-0 win snapped the team’s four-game losing streak.

It was a footnote in Richards’ most inspired outing of the season; shutting Houston out on four hits through eight innings. His nine strikeouts ties a career-high set May 3 against Texas and mildly atones for a horrendous outing in Oakland last weekend where he lasted just 2/3 of an inning.

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Richards’ fifth victory comes when desperately Angels needed it. A 1 ½ game deficit in the AL West expanded to five with a four-game split in Seattle and a sweep at the hands of division-leading Oakland. As if Albert Pujols’ inefficiency isn’t enough, Mike Trout missed three of the last four games and sparsely played in Monday’s series opener against the Astros before nagging back injuries forced him out.

An MRI on Trout’s back revealed inflammation, but he expects to be ready for tonight’s series finale.

Pitching MatchupTyler Skaggs (4-3, 4.14 ERA) vs. Brad Peacock (1-4, 4.76 ERA)

Tyler Skaggs looks for his third win in as many starts against the Astros. He’s struck out 11 over 15 innings while posting a 0.60 ERA; his best mark against any American League opponent. Earlier this year, Skaggs tossed eight shutout innings in his only other start at Minute Maid Park, limiting Houston to one run on four hits and a walk.

Skaggs’ inconsistency is his downfall. He’s lost two straight outing to division opponents, including last Saturday’s 11-3 loss to Oakland, and has allowed 33 runs; the highest among Angels starters.

Conversely, Astros righty Brad Peacock is hitting his stride after a rock start. After starting the season 0-3 with a 5.02 ERA, he’s settled down over the last two outings; going 1-0 with a 2.13 ERA. The right-hander aims for back-to-back victories for the first time this season.

Peacock gave up four runs and five hits in a relief appearance at Angel Stadium April 7. His only win over the Halos came last August, allowing two unearned runs over 6 1/3 innings.

Walk offs:

  1. Josh Hamilton is 1-for-7 with a home run and walk since his return from the DL.
  2. The Angels were outscored 33-13 during their season-long four-game losing streak.
  3. Angels’ pitchers yield a .230 opponent batting average; second only to Oakland in the AL.

TV: 4:10 p.m. PT, Fox Sports West, CSN

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